It’s almost June.  Things are going well here.  I’m doing a lot of work in the lab but looking forward to starting my new research on Mars.  There may be a little hitch in that plan but everything will work out.   Lately work has been a little stressful.  Several things in succession have gone wrong with our machine, and thankfully with the help of some others I’ve been able to work through them.  Something to complicate it further is that we have a visitor from France measuring samples she brought with her.  Normally this would be fine, but Pauline’s samples are right at the threshold of our measuring capabilities.  My boss and I are doing everything possible to make her trip worthwhile.

I still ride often, nearly every day.  This weekend even I got down to San Antonio to visit some friends.  First I saw Sharon in the morning.  She is doing well and changing careers.  After deciding to go to graduate school she has decided not to renew her commission in the Air Force.  She’s moving to Washington D.C. to study strength training and wants to work with professional athletes.   Then it was on to meet Spin, Sis, and LairdRose from Intruder alert.  They are all well, and we talked for several hours over some delicious Mexican food all the while hearing Mariachi music in the background.  And lastly it was back to Austin with a short visit to see Victor, Amy, and their new baby.  He’s adorable at just 2 weeks old.  His dad calls him a pickle, but his real name is Holden.

Things are going along, and I’ll try to update more often when I can.

Summer is nearing and warmth is almost here

I haven’t been writing as much.  Things are going about the same; I’ve accepted the invitation to attend the University of Texas and work nearly every day there.  School is out so campus is quieter.

Yesterday I went climbing, and my arms are tires – plus I’m a little sunburned from swimming afterward; but the pleasure of being outside all day far outweighed the small discomfort.

Life is good and warm. 😀

Windy(iest) Day of Riding

Motorcycling isn’t always easy. In fact is rarely is.  Here is one of my more trying times in extreme conditions for my mother’s reading pleasure.
Once, early on in my motorcycle life I rode up to Galesburg, Illinois as part of a rolling rally.  Members and some non-members of IntruderAlert passed a mascot from one to the next that had been all around the country.  I had picked up Erv, a small carved wooden creature, from Tighedog and was carrying it up north to Fuzzy in Iowa.  Erv had been around as they say and met a lot of people.  They would pose him on the beach, or in a cave or anywhere.  The main idea was for people to meet and give them an excuse to ride their bikes.

Fuzzy and his wife Linda had agreed to meet me at the train museum/station in Galesburg for our obligatory “hand-off photo” and then we chatted over a Mexican lunch.  The food and conversation were both good, and before long it was time we all head home. My ride was a little longer than theirs; I had already ridden over 200 miles and had to go back.  They were just across the state line and Mississippi river in Muscatine.  I left Erv in their charge with a promise, and a signature, saying they would pass him on to the next carrier further north in Wisconsin.  Erv was to eventually make it to Asheville, North Carolina for the motorcycle rally, but first he had to pass through Canada and see some of our more outspoken members.

My trip had already taken me through Springfield and Peoria two towns famous for very different people: one for Abraham Lincoln and the other for Richard Pryor.  I guess there might have been some commonality after all.  The plan to get home was just the opposite except to not bypass Peoria and instead drive right through the town, which I did.  It is a neat town set on a river which divides the east from the west and the poor from the not poor.  I stopped there for something that would later come in very handy: a rubber o-ring.  Why you might ask.  Well, earlier in passing I had heard of a way to lock the throttle that would allow me to take my right hand off of the bike to rest.  And it worked quite well…. For about 5 minutes.  I was so busy playing with my new toy that it fell off the bike, and I had to wait several weeks before trying again.  All this was to my dismay; with still 160+ miles to go it had already been a long day and promised to be much longer.

Galesburg was properly named being just a little south and west of Chicago. And since gale is defined as a very strong wind any would be traveler must be prepared.  At times the wind can be quite ferocious there.  In the morning it hadn’t been so bad, but by the afternoon it was strong enough to make someone want to stay in.

I remember that day being the windiest day of my life.  Constant head and cross winds blew me around and sometimes the combination would take me by surprise.  Already riding at an angle to the ground from the steady stream of air passing from my right, gusts of wind I can only assume near 40mph knocked me off of my track and caused me to move near the other lane.  Then it would switch to a headwind and blow the 70+40mph directly at my chest causing my hands to grow weak from the strain and helmet to beat around.  It took full strength just to hold on to the bike, and times like that make one tired.  The long stretch of interstate highway eventually wore down, but the wind never let up.  My gas mileage dropped dismally, and I found myself enjoying the rest each time the bike needed to be filled.  It was a long day, and the 425 total miles wore on me.  Eventually I made it home, but if you had asked me to do anything I wouldn’t have even had the energy to argue.